Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bloom Bloom Pow Quilt-Along: Cutting Your Fabric

Welcome to post #3 of the Bloom Bloom Pow Quilt-Along! Are you guys ready to cut into some fabric? Let's dive right in!

Note: If you're using fat-quarters, look for the note about cutting fat-quarters at the bottom of this post.

First, remember those value stacks that we made in last week's post? Take all your dark-value and medium-value prints and cut the width of fabric into two sections, a 25" wide section and an 18" wide section (see diagrams below). Light-value prints can stay whole for now.

BBP Quilt-along: Cutting diagram 1

BBP Quilt-along: Cutting diagram 2

Done with that? Great! Now, before we do anything else, we need to start thinking about how to pair up the colors for each block. If you cut first and then think about color pairings, you might waste fabric. So here's the method I recommend following for each block:

1. Start by choosing a dark- or medium-value print for the "petals." Once you've decided on a petal color, take the 25" wide section of that print and cut 2 strips 2.75" x 25" (for a full block), or 1 strip 2.75" x 25" (for a half-block).

2. Select a background color that looks good with the petal color chosen in step 1. If you selected a dark-value print in step 1, choose a medium or light value for the background. If you chose a medium-value print in step 1, stick with a light value for the background.

3. Once you've selected your background color, cut 3 pieces 4.5" x 5.5" (for a full block) or 2 pieces 4.5" x 5.5" (for a half-block). If you're cutting from a medium-value print, be sure to cut these pieces from the 18" wide section! Reserve the 25" wide section for cutting the long strips for the petals.

4. Keep the petal strips and background pieces for each block grouped together, so that you're all ready for piecing next week. One way to stay organized is to safety-pin the pieces together, or keep them in ziploc bags.

Repeat this process until you've cut pieces for all the blocks in the quilt. Block totals are as follows:

Baby size - you will need: 
• 14 full blocks
• 4 half-blocks

Throw size - you will need:
• 25 full blocks
• 5 half-blocks

If you run out of 2.75" x 25" strips for petals: You can cut your remaining petal strips from the 18" wide sections of dark- or medium-value prints (although I recommend sticking with the dark-value prints, so that the medium values will still be available for cutting background pieces). You will need 3 strips 2.75" x 18" for each full block, 2 strips for each half-block.

Now that you have your colored fabric cut, you can move on to the solid white.

Cutting the solid white fabric:
Start by folding the width of your white fabric in half, bringing the side selvage edges together. The folded size should now be 22" x 36" (baby size) or 22" x 54" (throw size).

Next, cut strips perpendicular to the folded edge (so after cutting, the strips will be 22" long while still folded, 44" long when unfolded).

BBP quilt-along: Cutting diagram 3

For the baby-size quilt, cut:
• 4 strips 4.5" wide, then sub-cut 32 pieces 4.5" x 5.5"
• 4 strips 3.25" wide, then sub-cut 32 pieces 3.25" x 5.5"

For the throw-size quilt, cut:
• 7 strips 4.5" wide, then sub-cut 55 pieces 4.5" x 5.5"
• 7 strips 3.25" wide, then sub-cut 55 pieces 3.25" x 5.5"

Note about using fat quarters:
Yes, you can use fat quarters to make this quilt! Follow the same process outlined above for cutting out each block, but of course, you will not be able to cut 25" long strips for the petals. Instead, cut your strips 2.75" x 18". You will need 3 strips for each full flower block, and 2 strips for each half-block.

For the background pieces, you will need 4 pieces 4.5" x 5.5" to make a full block, and 2 pieces 4.5" x 5.5" to make a half-block.

Well, that's it! You're now officially done with cutting. Next week we'll start piecing. You won't believe how fast these blocks come together, and how much fun they are. : )

Thanks again to all you wonderful people for quilting along with me! If you're still interested in joining in, it's not too late! You can still order bundles from Westwood Acres—the baby-size bundle can be found here, and the throw-size bundle is here. Amanda is great about shipping super quickly, so you'll have your fabric in hand before you know it!

Don't forget to post pictures of your progress in my Flickr group. If you have any questions about the QA, you can post here in the comments or in the discussion forum on Flickr. Have a wonderful week!

Bloom Bloom Pow Quilt-Along Schedule
March 21 - Introduction
March 28 - Design strategy
April 4 - Cutting your fabric
April 11 - Strip-piecing instructions
April 18 - Cutting the triangles and deciding on a layout
April 25 - Piecing the triangles to complete the top
May 2 - Quilting and finishing

36 comments:

Mary Reading said...

I am ready to start cutting! It might have to wait until the 1st of the week. I really do not want to miss cut with the help of two little boys..

Kelly Vetch said...

Yay! 3 blocks down and 22 to go! Thanks for the fat-quarter instructions as well. I have to use my stash which means small pieces and larger yardage all mixed. The extra instructions are keeping me straight. :-)

Anita said...

Great cutting instructions! Thanks for all the info :)

anna said...

Probably a silly question, but why would you do a half block vs a full block? New-ish to quilting and still getting a grip on the lingo.

Lee said...

Hi Anna! If you look at the mock-up in the introductory post, you'll see that because the blocks are laid out in the quilt in a staggered manner, there are blocks at the top and bottom of the quilt that aren't full blocks. They're made up of just three triangles instead of six. So if you made a full block of six triangles, you'd be wasting fabric and effort! Hope that helps - it will probably make more sense when we lay out the top and piece it together. : )

Lee said...

Also Anna, FYI, you're a no-reply blogger. That means I'm not able to email you directly to reply to your question. If you would like to change your settings so that you can get replies to your blog comments, visit http://happyhourprojects.com/blog-tips-are-you-noreply-commentblogger-com/ and http://www.flusterbuster.com/2013/02/are-you-no-reply-blogger.html.

Anita said...

Hi Lee. My fabric came in today from Westwood Acres. I am so happy! I just wanted to say thank you for the button for the Bloom Bloom Pow QAL. :) I was going to ask if you would make one and then here it is!

Kira said...

I have a question - it says for the background "cut 3 pieces 4.5" x 5.5" (for a full block) or 2 pieces 4.5" x 5.5" (for a half-block)" but in the fat-quarter instructions it says you will need 4 pieces 4.5" x 5.5" to make a full block, and 2 pieces 4.5" x 5.5" to make a half-block". I can't wrap my head around it, but maybe once I start cutting it will sorry if I am asking a silly question.

Lee said...

I know, it's weird, but that's the way it has to be. It's because of the way it's strip-pieced and then cut into triangles. If you're not strip-piecing a full block all together, you have to use more background fabric. You'll understand it better when we get to the post where we cut out the triangles. For now, just trust me and cut more background pieces if you're using FQs. : ) If you're using a mix of full yardage and FQs, you only need to cut the extra background pieces for the blocks with petals cut from FQs. (This is where it gets REALLY confusing! Sorry!) Let me know if you have any further questions about that and I can try to go into more detail.

Thanks for asking, it's a good question! : )

Kira said...

You are awesome!! And yes I trust you - I must tell myself to be patient:) Thank you!!!

Mishi Kichi said...

hi...just wondering would i be able to make this out of a jellyroll and charm squares in my stash? (which is 2.5" strips and 5" squares) and how would the measurements of the 4.5"x 5.5" cuts change to accomodate this? is this a possability?? i have a rainbow jellyroll n rainbow charm pack i would love to use.

Mishi Kichi said...

hi..my last comment seems to have dissapeared, but i was wondering could these measurements be adjusted to accomodate using a jellyroll n charm pack?? i have some rainbows i would love to use but not sure how the measurements would translate being 2.5" jellyroll and 5" charm pack....is it possible????

Franziska said...

I think I'll do a test block and then adjust to the size I'd like to have. I won't make a quilt but want to make a little tote out of it. I imagine the blocks are too big for that purpose. I'm excited 'though.

Lee said...

Hi Mishi,

I think it would be possible, but it might be tricky! We'll be strip-piecing large rectangular blocks in the next step, and then cutting triangles from those rectangular blocks. I had to do a lot of trial and error to get the seams in exactly the right spots for the triangles, plus enough fabric on the bottom/sides to make complete triangles. You'll have to cut smaller triangles, but I'm not sure how much smaller, and your quilt will obviously turn out smaller, but again I'm not sure how much smaller. : ) You may have to do some math and/or test blocks to figure out the answers to those questions. Hope this helps!

Also, FYI, for some reason Blogger tagged both of your comments as Spam. They came into my email, but they didn't show up on the blog because they were in my Spam Comments folder, I had to go in and remove them from Spam to get them to show up. You might want to check your settings to see if you can figure out why Blogger thinks you're a spammer! You are also a no-reply blogger, so I am not able to email you to reply directly to your comment. If you'd like to change your settings to fix that and receive replies to your blog comments, check out these posts: http://happyhourprojects.com/blog-tips-are-you-noreply-commentblogger-com/
http://www.flusterbuster.com/2013/02/are-you-no-reply-blogger.html

anna said...

Thanks! Also,changed the setting :)

Mishi Kichi said...

Thankyou that does help :o) I will try to rectify this no reply stuff etc I never knew it done that so thankyou!

Monika Kinner-Whalen (MySweetPrairie) said...

Hello Lee! I haven't been here in a long time (remember me!?) I just had to say a big fat congrats on the QuiltCon ribbons!! You have worked SO hard into building a career for yourself wince we started blogging. I am SO proud of you.

That's all... just wanted to say that : )

Monika K / My Sweet Prairie
fibre artist
Saskatoon, SK

Kathy Grom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathy Grom said...

I have the throw size fabric bundle and I cut my eight 4.5" white strips and when I went to cut my eight 3.25" strips, I only got six. So I went back to your instructions and they do say the fabric should be 22" x 54" however when I did the math, I really needed 62" of white, not 54". So now I am short 2 white strips. Not sure what to do about that.

2sew4fun said...

thanks for your question Kathy - i hadn't cut my white yet and because of your question did some recalculating for myself....it won't help you but maybe others. If you cut the strips 5.5" instead and then do your sub cuts at 4.5" and 3.25" it should use less fabric and still give you the number of pieces needed. Unless Lee gives us different directions.

Kathy Grom said...

When I sub cut what I have, I am 13 short on the 3.25" pieces and the leftovers from the wider strips are just not big enough to get any more smaller pieces. Glad I could help you make it work.

Lee said...

Hi ladies - according to my calculations, if you cut 4.5" and 3.25" wide strips, you should be able to get 7 strips 4.5" wide and 7 strips 3.25" wide from 1.5 yards of fabric, correct? And then you should be able to subcut 8 5.5" pieces from each strip, which gives you 56 pieces of each size (one extra of each size). Granted, this leaves practically no room for error, and now that I'm thinking about it, if you pre-wash your fabric you may end up not having quite enough of the white? : ( I'm so sorry about that, that's my bad - I don't ever pre-wash so I wasn't thinking about it. I probably should have asked Amanda to cut an extra 1/8 of a yard or something to make up the difference. If anybody is short a few strips of Kona White because of my mistake, send me an email and I will mail you some - I've got a whole bolt! : )

Rebekah said...

Hi Lee - very new quilter question. How often do you square up your fabric when you're cutting these blocks?

Thanks for such a gorgeous quilt along!

Rebekah

Marci Girl said...

This is what I did, and your math is correct, but you have to be sure to only cut 7 strips of each instead of 8. Also take off only the necessary selvedge (don't be generous) otherwise those last two that are cut will be slightly short.

Molli Sparkles said...

Hey Lee, thanks for hosting such a fabo QAL! I'm using fat quarters for the whole quilt, even for the designated white pieces. My head is trying to figure out why I would need some pieces 4.5" x 5.5" and some 3.25" x 5.5" because when I look at your illustration all of the white pieces look the same size. I just wanted to confirm for those white sections I need 55 of each? Thanks so much!

Lee said...

Hi Rebekah! Squaring up is something people generally do to blocks after they're already done piecing them. When I'm cutting, I'll generally cut one straight edge to start with (especially if I need to cut off a selvage), but other than that I don't do any squaring up as I'm cutting. If I'm understanding what you mean by squaring up, that is! Hopefully that helps - let me know if you have further questions.

Also, FYI, you (like so many others) are a no-reply blogger, so I am not able to email you to reply directly to your comment. If you'd like to change your settings to fix that and receive replies to your blog comments, check out these posts: http://happyhourprojects.com/blog-tips-are-you-noreply-commentblogger-com/
http://www.flusterbuster.com/2013/02/are-you-no-reply-blogger.html

Lee said...

Hi Molli - I know, it's weird - my advice is, don't try to get your head around it just yet. : ) It will all become clear in time, LOL. It's because of the way we're strip-piecing rectangular blocks and then cutting triangles from those rectangles. They'll all end up the same size triangles, but having some pieces 4.5" wide and some 3.25" saves fabric.

As far as the number of pieces, the number of white doesn't change whether you're doing FQs or not. You still need 55 pieces of each size no matter what. Using FQs changes the number of the colored background pieces, but not the white. Again, I know that seems weird, but it will all make sense in time. Hopefully. : )

Three Sisterz said...

When are you supposed to cut the light value prints? When we do cut them, is it also 25 x 14 and 18 x14?


Thanks!

yasmin Bennett said...

I have the same question as three sisters...^^^^

Lee said...

Oops, I replied to Three Sisterz via email but forgot to post it here! The info about the light-value prints is in the cutting post from last week. Maybe you missed it - here's what the cutting post says:

1. Start by choosing a dark- or medium-value print for the "petals." Once you've decided on a petal color, take the 25" wide section of that print and cut 2 strips 2.75" x 25" (for a full block), or 1 strip 2.75" x 25" (for a half-block).

2. Select a background color that looks good with the petal color chosen in step 1. If you selected a dark-value print in step 1, choose a medium or light value for the background. If you chose a medium-value print in step 1, stick with a light value for the background.

3. Once you've selected your background color, cut 3 pieces 4.5" x 5.5" (for a full block) or 2 pieces 4.5" x 5.5" (for a half-block). If you're cutting from a medium-value print, be sure to cut these pieces from the 18" wide section! Reserve the 25" wide section for cutting the long strips for the petals.

4. Keep the petal strips and background pieces for each block grouped together, so that you're all ready for piecing next week. One way to stay organized is to safety-pin the pieces together, or keep them in ziploc bags.

So as you can see, you're choosing dark and medium values for the petal strips, medium or light values for the colored background pieces. Let me know if you have any further questions, and you can find the rest of the cutting post at http://www.freshlypieced.com/2013/04/bloom-bloom-pow-quilt-along-cutting.html.

Lee said...

Also, Yasmin, you (like so many others) are a no-reply blogger, so I am not able to email you to reply directly to your comment. If you'd like to change your settings to fix that and receive replies to your blog comments, check out these posts: http://happyhourprojects.com/blog-tips-are-you-noreply-commentblogger-com/
http://www.flusterbuster.com/2013/02/are-you-no-reply-blogger.html

yasmin Bennett said...

Lee, I checked the websites you had suggested. I don't have a blog and am not on blogger so am not sure how to change it. My e-mail is yasmingbennett@gmail.com.

Heather S. said...

I got halfway through cutting and realized that I am a genius, and cut 24 inch strips instead of 25 inch strips. I know there is some fabric waste due to the way the triangles are cut, but do you think there is enough to cover my strips that are 1 inch too short? I would hate to waste all the work I've done so far and would prefer to avoid piecing in 1 inch sections!

Lee said...

Hi Heather - I did build a small amount of extra into those strips, so you might be able to get away with it, but if so, it's going to be REALLY close! I would recommend trying out one block and seeing if it works. If it doesn't, than I would suggest cutting each triangle maybe a half-inch shorter than what I recommend - so you would cut on the 6.5" line on your triangle ruler instead of the 7" line. Or if you're using the template, slice 1/2" off the bottom of the template. By doing that, you'll get a slightly smaller quilt, but I think everything will work out anyway. One person in the quilt-along accidentally cut her triangles an inch short and her quilt still worked out (although it was smaller). Good luck!

Marci Girl said...

I just laid out my quilt before I stitch the whole top together and I had a half block left over, I couldn't figure out what was wrong, so I came here and see that it says for a Throw Quilt you need 6 half blocks, but in reality you only need 5....I think. Three for one end and two for the other. I looked at some finished quilts and I think that is what I counted. Thanks Lee, if I'm wrong you can just delete this comment! LOL

Lee said...

Oh wow, you're absolutely right! I don't know how that happened. I must have typed it in wrong in the blog post, because I didn't have a half-block left over when I made my version! LOL. I'll fix it right now. Thanks for catching that! : )

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